Capitol cops were overrun by MAGA mob despite FBI warnings

Social media was rife with posts from MAGA mob rioters planning their armed attack on the US Capitol weeks before the deadly attack actually unfolded – as law enforcement scramble to explain how a security breach that large even managed to occur given the warning signs.

In the aftermath of last week’s deadly siege on the Capitol, local and federal law enforcement have repeatedly said they had no knowledge that rioters would actually target Congress.

But some hard-line Trump supporters had spent a month posting glaring and violent warnings online of the planned anarchy.

The social media posts, which called for people to come armed with weapons and zip ties, is just one example of the missed warnings that could have prevented the attack.

Local and federal law enforcement officials have spent the last few days shifting the blame after the riots were described as one of the gravest security lapses in recent US history. 

Capitol Police have come under fire for not bolstering the number of officers on the day of the protest and making no preparations for the possibility that it could escalate into violent riots. The department had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day

Capitol Police have come under fire for not bolstering the number of officers on the day of the protest and making no preparations for the possibility that it could escalate into violent riots. The department had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day

Capitol Police have come under fire for not bolstering the number of officers on the day of the protest and making no preparations for the possibility that it could escalate into violent riots. The department had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day

Despite officials saying they had no knowledge of attacks on the US Capitol, far-right social media users had been openly hinting for weeks that chaos would erupt and protests could descend into violence. One flyer that emerged on Facebook and Instagram last month was titled: 'Operation Occupy the Capitol'

Despite officials saying they had no knowledge of attacks on the US Capitol, far-right social media users had been openly hinting for weeks that chaos would erupt and protests could descend into violence. One flyer that emerged on Facebook and Instagram last month was titled: 'Operation Occupy the Capitol'

Despite officials saying they had no knowledge of attacks on the US Capitol, far-right social media users had been openly hinting for weeks that chaos would erupt and protests could descend into violence. One flyer that emerged on Facebook and Instagram last month was titled: ‘Operation Occupy the Capitol’

Capitol Police have faced the brunt of the scrutiny for misjudging the security threat given they are in charge of defending the federal building that was overrun. The agency had only prepared for a free speech demonstration and no contingency plans were prepared in case the situation escalated.

It has since emerged that the FBI had warned Capitol Police of potential violence in the days prior and federal agents even visited some extremists to tell them not to travel to Washington DC for Trump’s rally.

Yet in the aftermath, federal officials publicly said there was no intelligence that suggested Trump supporters were preparing to attack the Capitol. It has prompted questions as to whether the FBI and others actually took the threats seriously and why they didn’t step in until after the Capitol was already under attack. 

‘Operation Occupy the Capitol’: Social media users had openly hinted for weeks that chaos would erupt at the Capitol 

The MAGA supporters had been plotting online to ‘storm and occupy’ the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election win ever since Trump tweeted in mid-December that a ‘wild’ protest would be taking place in DC. 

Despite officials saying they had no knowledge of attacks on the US Capitol, far-right social media users had been openly hinting for weeks that chaos would erupt and protests could descend into violence. 

One flyer that emerged on Facebook and Instagram last month was titled: ‘Operation Occupy the Capitol’. It directly referenced the January 6 protest that Trump had encouraged his supporters to attend. 

Some users posted images on Reddit of supposed underground entrances and exits to the Capitol building, while others openly discussed the need to ‘overwhelm those barricades and cops’. 

On the 8kun message board, users spoke for weeks about storming the Capitol. They even argued whether Trump supporters should target police.

‘You can go to Washington on Jan 6 and help storm the Capital. As many Patriots as can be. We will storm the government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount,’ one user said.

Some users openly discussed on Reddit the need to 'overwhelm those barricades and cops' in a bid to storm the Capitol

Some users openly discussed on Reddit the need to 'overwhelm those barricades and cops' in a bid to storm the Capitol

Some users openly discussed on Reddit the need to ‘overwhelm those barricades and cops’ in a bid to storm the Capitol 

Some users posted images on Reddit of supposed underground entrances and exits to the Capitol building

Some users posted images on Reddit of supposed underground entrances and exits to the Capitol building

Some users posted images on Reddit of supposed underground entrances and exits to the Capitol building

Numerous discussions also took place on the pro-Trump forum TheDonald in the weeks prior to the riots where users interpreted Trump’s tweet as a call to revolt. 

The users, referring to Trump as ‘daddy’, spoke of whether Trump’s use of the word ‘wild’ meant he wanted them to come armed. 

‘Does Daddy want as armed or not?!?!’ one user wrote. 

Another said: ‘Trumps tweet said ‘Wild’ implying wild West in my mind.’ 

On that same thread, one user wrote: ‘Not telling you what to do but I will be open carrying and so will my friends. We have been waiting for Trump to say the word. There is not enough cops in DC to stop what is coming.’ 

They discussed how the protests would need to be violent in order to be heard and change history. 

‘We will have to achieve a an actual tactical victory like storming and occupying Congress, to have the intended effect,’ one user wrote on TheDonald forum. 

‘I don’t see Trump sending any federal resources or military in to help the local corrupt agencies. They’ll be on their own,’ one user predicted.  

Some plotted to arrest the lawmakers who would go on to vote in favor of certifying Joe Biden’s election results.  

‘We should be there in numbers so heavy and so protected that we are able to arrest treasonous members of the government,’ one wrote on TheDonald forum. 

As the plans escalated, many spoke of the need to bring zip ties to arrest lawmakers.  

When the attack on the Capitol actually unfolded, social media users urged followers to ‘trust the plan’ and ‘hold the line.’ 

Just what the plan might have been is central to the investigation into the violent siege.

The FBI is now investigating whether some of the attackers intended to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage. 

Authorities are particularly focused on why some in the mob were seen carrying plastic zip-tie handcuffs and had apparently accessed areas of the Capitol generally difficult for the public to locate.

A number of intelligence groups, including SITE Intelligence Group, published reports in the lead up to the protests warning of what some Trump supporters had been planning on social media. 

Capitol Police (pictured above) have faced the brunt of the scrutiny for misjudging the security threat given they are in charge of defending the federal building that was overrun. Law enforcement officials have spent the last few days shifting the blame after the chaotic Capitol scenes were described as one of the gravest security lapses in recent US history

Capitol Police (pictured above) have faced the brunt of the scrutiny for misjudging the security threat given they are in charge of defending the federal building that was overrun. Law enforcement officials have spent the last few days shifting the blame after the chaotic Capitol scenes were described as one of the gravest security lapses in recent US history

Capitol Police (pictured above) have faced the brunt of the scrutiny for misjudging the security threat given they are in charge of defending the federal building that was overrun. Law enforcement officials have spent the last few days shifting the blame after the chaotic Capitol scenes were described as one of the gravest security lapses in recent US history

Sources have previously said the Pentagon asked Capitol Police three days before the riots if it needed National Guard manpower but they declined

Sources have previously said the Pentagon asked Capitol Police three days before the riots if it needed National Guard manpower but they declined

Sources have previously said the Pentagon asked Capitol Police three days before the riots if it needed National Guard manpower but they declined

FBI and NYPD warned Capitol Police of potential violence and federal agents visited some extremists in lead up to riots 

The FBI and New York Police Department were among those agencies who warned Capitol Police of potential violence, law enforcement officials told NBC News

Federal agents also reportedly visited more than a dozen extremists in the days prior and warned them not to travel to Washington DC.  

‘Prior to this event, the FBI obtained credible and actionable information about individuals who were planning on traveling to the protests who expressed a desire to engage in violence,’ an FBI official told the outlet.  

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned a day after the siege, has claimed his request to have the National Guard on standby was declined two days before the ordeal by House and Senate security officials. It contradicts earlier statements from senior defense officials who claim Capitol Police rejected offers of federal

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned a day after the siege, has claimed his request to have the National Guard on standby was declined two days before the ordeal by House and Senate security officials. It contradicts earlier statements from senior defense officials who claim Capitol Police rejected offers of federal

Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned a day after the siege, has claimed his request to have the National Guard on standby was declined two days before the ordeal by House and Senate security officials. It contradicts earlier statements from senior defense officials who claim Capitol Police rejected offers of federal 

‘The FBI was able to discourage those individuals from traveling to DC.’ 

It is not clear exactly who, or how many people, the FBI visited prior to the riots. It also isn’t clear if any of those the FBI warned still attended the rally. 

The source said the FBI and Capitol Police had shared intelligence ahead of the protests.  

Justice officials, FBI and other agencies say they had been monitoring flights and social media for weeks and were expecting massive crowds given Trump had been urging his supporters to come to DC.  

Some hotels had been booked to 100 percent capacity – setting off alarm bells because tourism in Washington has cratered amid the pandemic. 

Sources say the NYPD had also sent Capitol Police intelligence information of violent threats posted on social media in the weeks prior that were specifically related to the rally. 

It contradicts public comments made by the head of the FBI’s Washington field office, Steven D’Antuono, who said last week there was no prior indication of the Capitol siege. 

DC Police Chief Robert Contee had also said publicly there was no intelligence of a Capitol breach in the aftermath.  

Capitol Police under fire for not bolstering number of officers, misjudging security threats and declining offers for federal help

Outgoing Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned a day after the siege, has since claimed his request to have the National Guard on standby was declined two days before the ordeal by House and Senate security officials.

It contradicts earlier statements from senior defense officials who claim Capitol Police rejected offers of federal help prior to the riots and also on the day it unfolded.  

The Pentagon had asked Capitol Police three days before the riots if it needed National Guard manpower. As the mob descended on the Capitol, Justice Department leaders also reached out to offer up FBI agents. Officials say the police turned down help from the federal agencies on both occasions.

Sund told the Washington Post that his supervisors were reluctant to take steps to put the Guard on call, saying that House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving said he wasn’t comfortable with the ‘optics’ of formally declaring an emergency before the rally.

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the US Capitol. The FBI is now investigating whether some of the attackers intended to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the US Capitol. The FBI is now investigating whether some of the attackers intended to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the US Capitol. The FBI is now investigating whether some of the attackers intended to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage

Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger reportedly suggested Sund informally seek out Guard contacts and ask them to ‘lean forward’ and be on alert in case Capitol Police needed their help, without officially calling upon them ahead of time.

Sund claims he tried five more times to request help but was rejected or delayed. He said he ended up calling Major General William J Walker, the head of the 1,000-member DC National Guard, to ask for help. He said he spoke to DC Police Chief Robert J. Contee III who also offered to help if trouble stirred.

Despite Sund’s recent statements, Capitol Police have come under fire for not bolstering the number of officers on the day of the protest and making no preparations for the possibility that it could escalate into violent riots. 

The department had the same number of officers in place as on a routine day. While some of those officers were outfitted with equipment for a protest, they were not staffed or equipped for a riot.  

It also emerged that once the mob began to move on the Capitol, a police lieutenant issued an order not to use deadly force, which explains why officers outside the building did not draw their weapons as the crowd closed in. Officers are sometimes ordered against escalating a situation by drawing their weapons if superiors believe doing so could lead to a stampede or a shootout. In this instance, it also left officers with little ability to resist the mob.   

Sund still maintains that he had no evidence that a large mob was planning to seize the Capitol. 

‘We knew it would be bigger. We looked at the intelligence. We knew we would have large crowds, the potential for some violent altercations,’ he told the Post. 

‘I had nothing indicating we would have a large mob seize the Capitol.’      

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